CCDF Planning Cycle 2025-2027:

Ensuring High Quality Access for School-Age Youth


Between January and July 1st 2024, states will be updating their Child Care Development Fund plans for the 2025-2027 cycle. Plans go into effect October 1, 2024. Stakeholder feedback is a required part of the process.

CCDF Quick Background:

  • States have a total of about $12 billion in federal funds through CCDF ($8.75B in discretionary and $3.5B in mandatory). The funds are designed to support working and learning adults with connecting their dependent children age 0-13 with high quality, accessible, affordable, and developmentally appropriate care settings.
  • Working parents have great needs for school-age child care to maintain their full time employment. This includes care before school, afterschool, over the summer and also during school vacations and other non-traditional hours. Voters are even willing to tax themselves for these types of supports.
  • 45% of those served nationally with CCDF funds are school-aged.

Below we offer some tools:

  1. For state level administrators to help engage the school-age community and ensure the youth they are serving with school-age funds are accessing the highest quality care possible.
  2. For school-age providers to identify areas where their input, experience and voice might be particularly impactful in supporting states to understand the specific needs of the school-age field.

The overall goal is meaningful alignment between early care and school-age systems that support providers, families and youth as they transition and develop along the continuum from ages 0-13 and beyond.

Across the country, states are working hard to ensure school-age students have the supports they need to sustain and build upon the gains of high quality early learning. This playbook provides examples from 10 states illustrating opportunities for school-age alignment in overall policy and in the CCDF State Plans. The playbook highlights six strategies for advancing school-age care: (1) relationship building, (2) coordination across agencies, (3) improving access, (4) professional development, (5) workforce development, and (6) quality systems.

CCDF funds serve high numbers of school-age students age 5-13. If you are a provider serving school-age youth, now is a great time to work with your statewide afterschool network and state child care agency on how to ensure all youth have the best possible resources and experiences while in developmentally appropriate care settings. Read our blog and see our 3 steps for taking action in this planning cycle.



State Planning:


These plans provide exciting opportunities to discuss school-age child care access, licensing requirements, training requirements, professional development supports, school-age quality systems, coordination across systems, and more. This planning cycle includes more detailed questions around specific workforce supports as well.

Additionally, states will review either the market rate price of care or use an alternative methodology that can account for truer costs of care, including costs of staff pay and benefits, training and professional development, curricula and supplies, licensing requirements, and quality levels. This work may align with a plan requirement for states to conduct a narrow cost analysis, which requires states to consider how program costs change for different geographies, ages, settings, and levels of quality.

The plans also require states to do a needs assessment and account for how to spend 9 percent of their overall funds, which must be used for investments in quality.

All of these components are expected to involve stakeholders and will have richer data and outcomes if school-age programs are involved.

School-Age Perspective Key Areas of Note:

  • School-age children benefit from important supports that look distinct from early care. For example: mental health and wellness, connections to the school-day, media and social media literacy, identity and belonging, youth choice and voice, literacy and STEM, and early adolescent development.
  • School-age staff may have have different backgrounds than early care educators and require different types of training and credential. While many may be full time professionals with advanced degrees and long histories in positive youth development, other school-age educators may be more likely to be part time and/or seasonal.
  • School-age settings may be in mixed-age settings, stand alone school-age center based settings, parks and recreation spaces or public schools, all which may require different considerations for physical space.
  • Parents with multiple children including early care and school-age and providers serving mixed-age settings require coordinated systems to navigate policies and opportunities.
  • Demand for afterschool programs is at an all time high, even programs become harder to access for issues of affordability, availability and transportation


Find Your:

See Some Current School-Age References in State 2025-2027 CCDF Draft Plans

  • School-age/Afterschool References
    • For example: Missouri's Section 7.2.1 on Quality Improvement Activities lists "The Lead Agency supports training and professional development through both in-person and online formats. Training is provided by Quality Specialists that work in the Child Care Collaborative Networks, Quality Specialists that work with the Quality Assurance Report, Child Care Health Consultants, and the Missouri Afterschool Network. Online/on-demand 

      training will continue to be developed and added to the professional development registry."


Child Care Blogs
New resource: Designing State Child Care Systems with Intentional Supports for Children and Youth 5-13
by Jillian Luchner (5/6/2024)
It’s time for school-age advocates to raise their voices in state plans
by Jillian Luchner (4/19/2024)
Biden administration releases FY 2025 budget proposal, includes afterschool related increases
by Erik Peterson (3/11/2024)
Office of Child Care finalizes their rule on the Child Care and Development Funds
by Jillian Luchner (2/29/2024)
New draft for comment of Child Care Development Plan pre-print for 2025-2027
by Jillian Luchner (2/12/2024)
Child Care Development Plan Cycle for 2025-2027 begins now with stakeholder input
by Jillian Luchner (1/5/2024)
Office of Child Care inquiring what should be included in State Child Care Development Fund plans
by Jillian Luchner (8/8/2023)
Office of Child Care webinar highlights right-sizing child care licensing requirements to expand school-age accessibility
by Jillian Luchner (11/1/2022)
Opportunity: CCDF supplemental funds available for school-age programs
by Jillian Luchner (10/25/2022)
Child care support still a high priority for Congress
by Jillian Luchner (6/16/2022)
American Rescue Plan funds one year later: Support for afterschool, summer learning
by Erik Peterson (4/15/2022)
Child care funds remain available to support school-age programs: Check with your child care agency about their plans
by Jillian Luchner (4/14/2022)
How out-of-school time programs can help families claim the Expanded Child Tax Credit
by Maria Rizo (2/15/2022)
State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible
by Jillian Luchner (11/18/2021)
What could the Build Back Better Act mean for afterschool and summer learning?
by Erik Peterson (9/17/2021)
IRS: Monthly Child Tax Credit payments began July 15
by Guest Blogger (8/9/2021)
Draft Child Care Plans for 2022-24 boast strong examples of school-age policy
by Jillian Luchner (7/1/2021)
Guidance on $15 billion in Supplemental Child Care Funding released, including opportunities to increase staff wages
by Jillian Luchner (6/25/2021)
There is still time to apply to be a 2021 Afterschool Alliance Youth Ambassador!
by Guest Blogger (6/23/2021)
Child Care Stabilization Grant Program guidance offers many school-age opportunities
by Jillian Luchner (5/27/2021)
Whole child health and summer learning: Tips from a school psychologist
by Guest Blogger (5/11/2021)
The Biden administration’s American Family Plan – what it means for afterschool
by Erik Peterson (5/7/2021)
Learning ecosystems are essential threads in our nation's fabric
by Guest Blogger (5/6/2021)
Our second COVID summer: Finding care and enrichment opportunities for your school-age child
by Guest Blogger (4/23/2021)
Largest influx of Child Care Development funds in history available for school-age care
by Jillian Luchner (3/24/2021)
Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2020 signed into law
by Erik Peterson (1/4/2021)
Urban Institute: 21st CCLC among 8 policy strategies for school-age child care
by Bella DiMarco (9/1/2020)
Important questions on all-day school-age care answered by OCC
by Jillian Luchner (8/18/2020)
Early child care & out-of-school time activities are formative experiences with lasting impacts
by Guest Blogger (5/18/2020)
HHS requests feedback on way to improve access to quality child care
by Erik Peterson (11/25/2019)
Working parents and the economy: $57 billion dollars at stake
by Rina Moss (2/11/2019)
2018 high cost of child care report released
by Jillian Luchner (11/9/2018)
Making child hunger a priority—this month and beyond
by Erik Peterson (9/25/2018)
5 steps to finding a quality afterschool program
by Charlotte Steinecke (8/20/2018)
How (and why) afterschool programs can ensure a more accurate census
by Jillian Luchner (7/19/2018)
Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) state plans open for stakeholder comments
by Jillian Luchner (6/12/2018)
2018: An important year for the development of state Child Care Plans
by Jillian Luchner (1/26/2018)
New state progress reports for Child Care and Development Block Grant
by Tiereny Lloyd (9/25/2017)
Learn about child care in your state with Child Care Aware® of America!
by Leah Silverberg (9/1/2017)
Advice from the experts on successful campaigning for HEPA
by Julie Keller (8/10/2017)
How to bring older adult volunteers into youth-serving organizations
by Elizabeth Tish (8/8/2017)
Guest blog: Afterschool gave me hope of a future I'd never known
by Guest Blogger (7/11/2017)